Looking for information from previous years? Check out past highlights below!
Embedded in student and campus life, the Okanagan Library is integrated in transformative teaching and learning efforts, providing essential services, spaces, and resources for student success. In 2017, the Library reimagined its Learning and Technology Assistant (LTA) program, examined its supports for international students, began a redesign of its First-Year English instructional supports as part of a longer-term strategy to consider the role of information literacy instruction in the curriculum, and piloted several new initiatives through its Writing and Research Services unit.
Optimal Access to Library Resources
UBC Okanagan Library circulation represented over 38,000 transactions in 2017, including book, audiovisual resource, and technology lending. Our physical collections represent a robust, active working collection of approximately 200,775 volumes, with reliance on the Point Grey campus primarily for access to multiple copies and deep research collections.
Today, 82% of UBC Library collections funds are spent on licensing or acquiring electronic resources, reflecting the transformation in scholarly dissemination. Loans of physical materials continue to decline while use of electronic content grows, underlining a shift in usage patterns underway for more than a decade.
Across both campuses, UBC Library has adopted an e-preferred purchasing policy, which provides increased online access to materials to both campuses.
Expanded Access to Specialized and Local Collections
Special Collections and Archives
As of December 31, 2017, the Okanagan Special Collections (OSC) contains 2,756 print volumes and continues to grow. This collection represents a significant collection of materials related to the Okanagan region and has attracted community attention as a regional research hub. Two major archival collections were also accessioned into OSC in 2017: the Allison Family fonds (approximately 12 boxes of materials dating from 1890-1950) and the Kootenay Express collection (newspaper run from 1988-2011).
In 2017, just over 1,700 new digital assets were created by the OSC team, with two new archival collections loaded to UBC Library’s Open Collections platform: the George Meeres Collection and the Joe Harris Collection.
Public Art Program
As part of the Library’s portfolio, the Public Art program continues to expand the University’s Art Collection, increasing its breadth and value, and transforming the campus with art installations that enhance the experience of the University’s many stakeholders.
We have added to our collection some significant pieces this year, the most important of which is Pair of Deer by David Sidley. The Public Art program oversaw the site selection, proposal development, and installation of this major donation in the UBC Okanagan courtyard. The work was inaugurated on June 16th, and it has proven to be a popular and often-photographed addition to the Public Art Collection. The Public Art Advisory Committee also reviewed and approved fourteen new acquisitions. Some of these works are significant international and historical additions, such as two works by celebrated eighteenth-century English satirist William Hogarth.
The Curator has been very busy this year with proposals for and installations of art both on- and off-campus. Internally, the Curator has undertaken fifteen different consultations, overseeing the process from the proposal stage to the final installation, labelling and cataloguing of the works. These include new displays in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Student Services, Recruitment and Advising, Faculty of Management, and Faculty of Arts and Sciences. An off-campus installation of note was the arrangement of seven works now displayed at the UBC space within the Okanagan Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna.
The Curator also provides assistance for related initiatives within the University community and the community at large. For instance, she is currently in the initial stages of assisting the Indigenous Students’ Association, whose successful application to the Equity Enhancement Fund will lead to the creation of a mural representing Syilx culture on campus. The program also continues to offer support to the Interior Health Authority (IHA) for the development of its art program, and maintains continuing relationships with the Kelowna Art Gallery and the City of Kelowna Public Art Program.
Provision of Outstanding Library Services
The Okanagan Library has two primary service points: the campus Library’s single service desk and the Innovation Library, located in downtown Kelowna at Okanagan Regional Library’s Kelowna branch on Ellis Street. Together, these handled nearly 50,000 individual questions and transactions over the past 12 months. Over 2,100 additional in-depth research consultations took place during the same period through referral to professional librarians.
Reimagining our Peer Technology Assistant Program
Each year, the Library hires a group of students to act as Peer Technology Assistants (PTAs). For several years, these PTAs have provided technology, course management system, and basic directional support to students at the Campus Library’s Service Desk. With the impending opening of the new Teaching & Learning Centre and renovation of the Library’s existing main floor to create new opportunities for programmable space, we have created an opportunity for each PTA to be responsible, as part of their regular position, to lead at least one program per term. The objective of this initiative is to pilot student-led programming within the Library as a means to engage with students and promote library services and collections. These programs will also contribute to the collaborative, interdisciplinary space that is the Library by fostering a sense of community through shared activities.
Using a proposal form that involves creating a timeline, budget, and set of goals for the initiative, each PTA proposes their ideas – either original ideas, or selections from a pre-existing list of suggestions – to the Library’s Student Outreach Working Group. Once approved, the PTA is responsible, with the help of a library employee, to ensure that program goals are met. If issues arise with timeline, cost, or logistics, the student is responsible to communicate with their collaborating employee to explain the situation and propose solutions.
The first term of activities was highly successful and included:
- Okanagan Regional Library Pop-up location and Free Library Cards
- Science Literacy Interactive Whiteboards
- Multilingual “good luck” messages for midterms and finals
- Book in a jar contests (3)
- Scavenger Hunt contest
- Digital signage to promote Special Collections
- Library Wellness book display
- Peer Support Network Pop-up location
- Apple giveaway
- Study Tips and Life-Hacks suggestion box with corresponding digital display
- Community Event: Students Helping Staff/Faculty with Personal Tech Questions
Evaluating Services to International Students
This year, the Library undertook a review of Library services for international students, with focus on any targeted services the Library might provide to support the needs of the campus’ increasing numbers of international students. With the assistance of a Professional Experience student from UBC Vancouver’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, the Library:
- performed an environmental scan and review of literature related to services academic libraries provide to international students, developed an annotated bibliography, and created an executive summary of relevant themes;
- reviewed 2016 LibQUAL+ results and data from the Office of Planning and Institutional Research to identify themes and trends that might suggest specific areas of improvement/change of interest to international students; and
- prepared and conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with international students and campus partners such as International Student Services.
Results from this process were highly informative. Overall, they reinforced the Library’s current approach to service provision, but highlighted the potential for the Library to serve as a hub through which international students could learn about existing campus services and supports. This potential was considered in service and space design for the Library’s first floor renovation, reinforcing the need for strong cross-campus relationships and referrals and central, flexible, programmable space in the Library where campus colleagues can create temporary “pop-up” locations to promote their services at times when students might need them most.
New Approaches to Instructional Program Delivery
During the period covered by this report, librarians taught over 240 instructional sessions, many of which were integrated directly into course content. Topics ranged from subject-specific information on search and retrieval strategies to sessions on copyright, scholarly communication and publishing, research data management, performing systematic and literature reviews, critical evaluation of information, and effective integration of published research into academic writing, including appropriate use of citation styles.
With the onboarding of a new Learning & Curriculum Support Librarian in March, an immediate priority was improving coordination of the Library’s longstanding First Year English Instructional Program. In 2017, this program saw seven librarians and one graduate co-op student deliver a total of 36 instructional sessions to first year English students, structured around orienting students to the foundational aspects of information literacy, research skills, and library basics. 1,535 students were reached through these sessions, and 12 sections of the course requested additional follow-up instruction following the initial orientation session.
A draft three-year Library instructional strategy has been created and is currently in a consultation phase with our librarian cohort. The strategy focuses on areas such as targeted curriculum/program mapping that identifies required and research intensive courses within programs that are strong candidates for a Library instruction component, improved communication strategies for the Library’s instructional offerings, development of Canvas Commons Modules and internal Library toolkits for reusable learning objects, more robust assessment for the First Year English Instructional Program, and peer observation and professional development opportunities for librarians to help them further develop their teaching practice.
“The students and I really appreciated the resource-rich demonstration you gave. I am going to be calling on you again in future not only because of the wonderful archive you created for the students in this class, but also because you’ve shown them how exciting research can be.”
Writing and Research Services
The Library’s Writing and Research Services unit provides access to a suite of services that support undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty members in the areas of scholarly writing, publishing, and other critical scholarly communication constructs including copyright and academic integrity. Combined, the undergraduate Writing and Research Centre (WRC) and the Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC, which serves graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty members) held over 2,560 individual appointments and 73 workshops/boot camps in 2016. WRS also provided classroom-embedded sessions that reached over 900 undergraduate students and 85 graduate students.
“The Centre and the consultants have been very helpful for me to advance my academic writing skills. They are highly experienced and professional. The sessions have always motivated me. My research productivity has been enhanced much by the Centre’s assistance.”
College Reading and Language Association Certification
In September, the Library’s WRC received notification that its writing consultant training received College Reading and Language Association (CRLA) International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC). This allows the Centre to issue certificates to peer consultants who have met all of the CRLA-approved requirements. Training program development and evaluation was undertaken collaboratively with colleagues at UBC Vancouver’s Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, which means the certification applies to the writing centres on both campuses.
Summer Hours Pilot
In response to Vantage College and English instructor requests for WRC summer hours, the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal Academic provided one-time project funding to explore a cost-effective staffing model to offer writing appointments in the summer terms. While the Academic Integrity Matters (AIM) program profited from the summer pilot, WRC hours were underutilized due to a series of challenges identified through the pilot:
- Student Workload: Instructors and students reported anecdotally that the compressed schedule for summer term courses, with many students taking more than one course at a time, left little time for planning a WRC visit. In addition, students reported that they were using time outside of class to work.
- Limited Hours: Given budget limitations, WRC hours had to be very limited for the summer. Some students reported that this made it more difficult for them to find an appointment time that worked within their course and extracurricular work schedules.
- Few Summer Term Course Offerings with Writing Component: The number of courses that included a required writing component was very limited in Summer Term I and II.
Based on the results of the pilot, the WRC does not plan to establish a regular peer consultation schedule for summer terms. Instead, staff will work closely with faculty members teaching summer courses that contain writing components to determine whether class visits might be beneficial.
“I really appreciated how [the writing consultant] pointed out the good qualities of my writing, while assessing areas that needed more work at the same time. She is very positive and knowledgeable.”
Service Partnerships with the College of Graduate Studies
The Centre for Scholarly Communication continues to work closely with the College of Graduate Studies to find areas of alignment and potential collaborations. In 2017, two such initiatives were launched: a Peer Writing Group Network, which facilitates the formation of peer writing groups by serving as a point of connection for UBC Okanagan graduate students, and a Thesis Formatting Service, which provides students with a flexible, reasonably priced option for resolving issues relating to document formatting (i.e. tables of contents, margins, text formatting, alignment of tables and charts, etc.) while respecting the academic purpose and integrity of the thesis writing and submission process.
“[The writing consultant] helps me to strategize my way through the multiple tasks that are on my plate right now – including dissertation writing and revisions, applying for post-docs, and communicating with my supervisor/committee. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but my time with [the CSC] helps me to stay motivated, confident, and on top of it all.”